Fort Myers Guatemalan community celebrates Patroness

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

Jesus the Worker Parish in Fort Myers is home to a diverse and faithful Hispanic Catholic community and there are often celebrations to mark significant occasions.

From Oct. 5-7 a celebration of Our Lady of the Rosary, Patroness of Guatemala, took over the community with a vigil, prayers, procession, food, music, dancing and even a few fireworks.

Consuela de Lara, who dressed in traditional clothing from her home province for the procession and Mass on Oct. 6, said Our Lady of the Rosary is an important religious figure for the Guatemalan people and nation. “It is a celebration for all.”

The main celebration at Jesus the Worker Parish began a gathering in front of a temporary outdoor shrine to Our Lady of the Rosary. The shrine included a statue that was placed on a platform which was adorned with flowers. The faithful prayed the Holy Rosary before the platform was carried throughout the parking lot as music reflecting the community’s strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin was sung.

The ceremony was led by children dressed in traditional Guatemalan clothing and carrying flowers. Many of the adults also carried flowers and wore traditional clothing, each color and design representing their hometown.

Father Patrick O’Connor, Oblate of St. Francis de Sales, Pastor of Jesus the Worker, passed out blessed rosaries to the younger children before the procession.

A small hand-carved and painted statue of Our Lady was also carried during the procession and placed in the Church at the beginning of the Mass. This statue was brought back from Guatemala by Father O’Connor during a recent mission trip. Like the larger statue, the image has a large rosary in her right hand and in her left she holds the Child who seems to be trying to free himself from her embrace. There is a popular tradition that the Virgin Mary went out to travel throughout the Americas and that the Child fell asleep when they reached Guatemala, which is why she stayed there.

Of special significance to this year’s celebration was the recent announcement that Bishop Alvaro Ramazzini Imeri, from the Diocese Huehuetenango, Guatemala, was elevated to Cardinal on Oct. 5 by Pope Francis. Father O’Connor noted that many are from that very poor region of Guatemala, which has a strong Mayan Indian population.

“It is exciting for them, and all of the people of Guatemala,” Father O’Connor explained.

After the Mass, the celebration continued in the Parish Hall with traditional Guatemalan foods and dancing. There was also the selection of a Mayan princess from among the young ladies of the parish. The celebration concluded with a traditional Guatemalan community dance with music from the national instrument of Guatemala, the marimba. A more subdued celebration took place on Oct. 7, the Feast Day of Our Lady of the Rosary.

While Our Lady of the Rosary is the Patroness of Guatemala, and there was a special emphasis to recognize the specific community, the celebration was welcoming to the entire community which includes faithful from across the Americas. Other days honoring Our Lady are celebrated at the parish with equal enthusiasm throughout the year.

Diocesan news briefs late October 2019

White Mass and lecture held for medical professionals

St. Agnes Parish held its annual White Mass for medical professionals in Naples, on Oct. 18, the Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist and patron of doctors. A lecture titled “Spirituality and Health: Complete Doctoring” presented by Dr. Michael Gloth followed in the Parish Hall.

 

 

Mobile Medical Clinic blessed

Father Augustine Twum Obour, Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Lakewood Ranch, blesses the new Mobile Medical Clinic of Community Pregnancy Clinics on Oct. 20. The van, which offers free ultrasounds to pregnant moms, was made possible by a donation from the Knights of Columbus and will be used throughout the region.

 

 

Verot earns Apple Distinguished School Certification

Bishop Verot Catholic High School has earned Apple Distinguished School Certification for 2019-2022. According to Apple: “Apple Distinguished School leaders, faculty, and the extended community have a clear vision for how their technology-rich environments support learning goals. School leaders have established elements for continuous innovation that include culture, team, capacity, community, finance, and measurement. Supporting their school’s vision is an ongoing process that requires thoughtful planning, practice, and improvement along the way. They use iPad and Mac products to inspire student creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking. And they cultivate environments in which students are excited and curious about learning.”

St. Mary Academy named Best Special Needs School in region

St. Mary Academy in Sarasota has been named by Family Living Magazine as the Best Special Needs School in Sarasota, Bradenton and Venice. The schools provide skilled teaching to students with learning disabilities. To mark this achievement, the school had a celebration that included outdoor games, food and fun.

 

 

Junior high students have fun in Wauchula

St. Michael Parish in Wauchula hosted an Oct. 5 festival for junior high students. The day includes lots of fun and games, but also include speakers who stressed the need to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, time for prayer and the Mass.

 

 

 

Mooney featured on Tampa morning TV show

Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota hosted FOX-13 Tampa Bay on Oct. 17. The honor coincides with the ongoing celebration of Mooney’s 60th Anniversary. The sports teams and cheerleaders led a pep rally, and the TV crew also showcased the newly renovated stadium and field.

 

 

Goldtones Tickets Now on Sale
San Antonio Parish Knights of Columbus announce that tickets are now on sale for Florida’s famous Doo-wop group the Goldtones’ concert. The concert will be 7 p.m.,  Jan. 31 in the Holy Trinity Hall, 24411 Rampart Blvd, Port Charlotte. General Admission tickets are $15. In addition to all the old familiar Doo-wop favorites, they will also be singing your favorite Motown hits. Last year sold out early, so get your tickets now at 800-838-3006, or online at: BrownPaperTickets.com

Priestly Ordination: United to the Sacrifice of Christ

Bob Reddy – Venice –

The presbyterate of the Diocese of Venice in Florida grew by one with the Ordination to the Priesthood of Father Carlos Encinas.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane presided over the ordination of Father Carlos in a Rite that was filled with long tradition and witnessed by hundreds Oct. 5 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice.

The Bishop told Father Carlos that through ordination, he becomes forever “United to the Sacrifice of Christ.” That unity is also with the Bishop and the Universal Church led by Holy Father Pope Francis.

“You are called to be that Church as you go out and strive to minister to the people of God,” Bishop Dewane continued. “Be the example of the Good Shepherd and go out and find the lost sheep who have the strayed by being the Light of Christ to others who might be in darkness.”

To start the Rite of Ordination, Diocese of Venice Vocations Director Father Shawn Roser called Deacon Carlos forward as he presented himself for ordination to the Bishop. The Bishop, on behalf of the entire Church, accepted Carlos and called him to ordination as a Priest by saying: “Relying on the help of the Lord God and Our Savior Jesus Christ, we choose Carlos Encinas, our brother, for the Order of the Priesthood.”

During the Rite of Ordination, Encinas knelt before Bishop Dewane to express his desire and willingness to be ordained as a Priest and to fulfill the responsibilities that come with ordination, which included a promise of respect and obedience to the Bishop and his successors. Encinas then lay prostrate before the altar for the Litany of Supplication/Litany of Saints.

After this solemn act of prayer, the Sacrament of Ordination was conferred when Carlos again knelt before Bishop Dewane, whom in silent prayer, imposed his hands on the head the ordinand. Each priest then came forward to lay their hands upon the head of Father Encinas. This was followed by Bishop Dewane, with his hands outstretched, praying the Prayer of Ordination.

Father Carlos was then vested in stole and chasuble by Father Gerard Critch, Pastor of St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples where Encinas had recently served as Transitional Deacon. The hands of Father Carlos were than anointed with the Sacred Chrism by the Bishop, the sign of the special anointing of the Holy Spirit who will make their ministry fruitful.

Next, the Bishop presented Encinas with the chalice and paten which all priests are called to present to God in the Eucharistic Sacrifice. The Rite of Ordination is concluded with the Bishop giving a fraternal kiss of peace to the newly ordained priest, welcoming him into the Diocesan Presbyterate or priesthood. Bishop Dewane introduced Father Carlos to all those present to enthusiastic applause, before all priests came forward to offer the sign of peace.

In addition to families and friends from Argentina, there were faithful from across the Diocese, many from the parishes where he previously had served. Included among those were also representatives of the Knights and Dames of the Order of Malta, and the Knights and Dames of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, as well as Diocesan seminarians who served during the Mass. Father Carlos was also pleased that a number of priests and fellow graduates from St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary, many of whom were ordained earlier in the year, were able to attend.

The Ordination was followed by a reception in the Cathedral Parish Hall where newly ordained Father Carlos Encinas was available to greet the public and impart his priestly blessing on them.

Undy Sunday near one million mark

Naples – Nearly a million packages of underwear have been collected for needy children in Collier County since 1996 as part of the annual “Undy Sunday” campaign.

In its 24th year, the campaign garnered enough donations of new underwear and socks for boys and girls in Collier County Public Schools who would otherwise go without and still had enough extra to help additional programs, including sending donations to the hurricane ravaged Bahamas.

The chairpersons of the “Undy Sunday” campaign, Mike Egan, Tim Corcoran and Paola Pinillos, sent a letter of thanks to the more than 30 houses of worship (including all Catholic Parishes) that participated in the special collection in early August.

In that letter, the lofty goals of the campaign were met with a collection of an ample supply of underwear, socks and miscellaneous clothing and school supplies for the many needy elementary and pre-school children within Collier County.

Volunteers with Catholic Charities of Collier County sorted, labeled and packaged 35,000 items for delivery to 35 local schools, plus several social service organizations, including Catholic Charities, that assist needy women and children in our community. That roughly translates to more than 350,000 pounds of items collected and distributed. Each school has a program to identify students in need and confidentially provides the items throughout the school year.

In addition, the campaign was blessed with receiving an overwhelming number of socks again this year, allowing a donation of several hundred pairs to the “Laces of Love” Foundation to supplement their Shoes for Needy Kids Program. Adult items were split between several agencies. Additionally, 158 pounds of items were sent to the Bahamas through the Meals for Hope program.

Mary Shaughnessy, Catholic Charities District Director, explained that financial donations help support Catholic Charities programs which target children, including the weekend power pack, school supply distribution as well as Christmas gifts for children.

It is an annual struggle to remind people of the specific need for undergarments for children. The shocking reality is that poor families, even in Collier County, must choose between food and other bills over new clothing.

“We did not have any goals this year, but everyone came through and it is wonderful to have extra,” explained Mike Egan of St. William Parish in Naples. “We were quite pleased that what was donated could reach so many in need.”

One Collier County School administrator said that having access to new items such as “a clean pair of socks or underwear can make all difference in a child’s life.”

For those interested in continuing to support the efforts of “Undy Sunday,” donations of underwear and gift cards are accepted throughout the year at Catholic Charities of Collier County, 2210 Santa Barbara Blvd., Naples, 34116, or call 239-455-2655.

CCW Juniors gather for retreat

A group of young ladies received important last-minute lessons as they prepared to return to school – how to defend their faith and what the Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (VDCCW) is all about.

A CCW Juniors Convocation took place Aug. 9-10 at Campo San Jose Retreat Center in Lake Placid. Organized by Iris Gomez, VDCCW Past-President of St. Michael Parish in Wauchula, girls from four different parishes spent time together before they had to return to school on Aug. 12.

“I want these girls to learn about how to defend their faith in the real world,” Gomez explained.

This is important, Gomez added, because when the young ladies are in school, or out with friends, they don’t have anyone physically standing beside them to explain why they are Catholic and what being Catholic is all about.

“We want them to grow in strength and confidence while being comforted by the companionship of the Lord,” Gomez concluded.

The girls, from St. Jude Parish in Sarasota, Sacred Heart Parish in Bradenton, Our Lady of Grace Parish in Avon Park, and St. Michael Parish, took part in a variety of activities. These tasks were sometimes a lot of fun, but very serious, with each helping them to understand the love the Lord has for them as women of God.

To help achieve this, Gomez and the chaperones stressed the importance of prayer, particularly of the rosary. After each prayer session, the girls would gather in smaller groups for talks.

One young lady from St. Michael Parish said she had fun during the convocation and felt confident that when she returned to high school, she would be a stronger woman who was not shy about her faith. “I never really talked about being Catholic to people who didn’t know I was already,” she said. “I am proud to wear my cross neckless and carry a rosary with me. It is part of who I am.”

This feeling was shared by many of the other girls who appreciated the frank talks that they rarely have about faith.

The first activities of the convocation included a living rosary, sharing a meal together, pep talks, campfire, a movie with popcorn, and the recitation of evening prayers.

When they arose in the morning, they participated in Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, celebrated by Fathers Juan Carlos Sack and Timothy Van Zee. This was followed by more talks and small group gatherings.

Following their lunch, the girls had some fun, by putting permanent stickers on t-shirts. Many of the girls chose “faith” or a heart that represented the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The group also took part in a service project, ironing on stickers to baby onesies and bibs. These would later be distributed to needy moms throughout Hardee County.

The young ladies from St. Michael Parish also did a skit on the story of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, a religious sister who lived a humble life to whom Jesus appeared. She was canonized by St. John Paul II in 2000, who at that time declared the Second Sunday of Easter is Divine Mercy Sunday, a celebration of the mercy of Jesus as reminded us by St. Faustina.

The final activity of the retreat was to spend some quality time in quiet and prayer with the Lord through the participation in Eucharistic Adoration.

When their convocation was completed, they returned home, ready and energized for a great school year while keeping Jesus first in their lives.

New Church Dedicated in Immokalee

Dream comes true for Parish Community

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

A Church building, dating from the ancient times, has been given the name – the Temple of the Lord. Because of this, a dedication of a new Parish Church permanently makes the building a sacred and holy place where the faithful come to hear the Word of God, to pray together, to celebrate and receive the Sacraments, and most precisely to celebrate often the Eucharist at the Table of the Lord.

A Church, as a building, is destined solely and permanently for the gathering of the faithful to give Glory and Praise to God, Bishop Frank J. Dewane stressed when he dedicated the new Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Church during a Mass on July 20 in Immokalee before a joyous assemblage of several thousand.

A huge and enthusiastic throng of people were there to witness the next chapter in the life of their beloved Parish. While the Church is a visible building, Bishop Dewane said it is nothing without the faith-filled people of Immokalee. “You are the ‘living stones.’ You are the why we build this Church – to come to gather as a community to adore Christ… It fills my heart with joy to see so many here for this important moment.”

Fittingly, the dedication began in the old church, which was built in 30 years ago, in 1989. Present for the dedication were Our Lady of Guadalupe Pastor Father Carlos Reyes-Ramirez, CS, Missionaries of St. Charles (Scalabrinians), Parochial Vicars Father Wilner Durosier, CS, and Thobias Sariar, M.o.C., as well as Father Moacir Balen, CS, Regional Provincial Superior of the Scalabrinians, and priests from the Diocese, the religious order. A special concelebrant was Father Isaia Birollo, CS, who served at Our Lady of Guadalupe for four years and was present for the 1989 dedication of the old church. “It is amazing how this community has grown. Wonderful!”

Led by the cross bearer, the priests and Bishop then processed to the front doors of the new, but empty church. There the building was symbolically handed over to the Bishop and he said: “Enter the gates of the Lord with thanksgiving, his courts with song and praise.” Pastor Father Reyes then opened the door and all entered.

During his homily, Bishop Dewane explained the different parts of the Rite of Dedication, but he also reemphasized the purpose behind the new church by citing the Gospel of Matthew (16:13-19), which was proclaimed during the Mass. In Matthew, Jesus questions the disciples about who other people say He is. When their answers are unsatisfactory, Jesus challenges Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” The Bishop noted that each one of those present answers that question by the life that they live.

Here in Immokalee, we set about to build this new Church so that every one of you can answer that question,” Bishop Dewane continued. “It is not just for the Fathers to answer it, or for those who are here often…  We put up this Church so that no one will have the chance to say: ‘Let someone else enter there.’ Let it be – in this Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe – where everyone begins their response to the Lord of ‘Who do you say that I am?’ and they end with their response by carrying the Lord with them throughout their daily life.”

Reactions and post-dedication celebration

Yolanda Medina brought her young children, Daniela, 6, Elena, 4, and Jose, 3, Manuel, 2, into the new church following the dedication and pointed out the key interior features. These included the crucifix, the tabernacle, the baptismal font, the statue of St. Juan Diego, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and a statue of St. Michael the Archangel.

The Medina family first knelt in the pews and prayed for a time before exploring their new Parish Church. “They were in such awe of the whole dedication and wanted to see everything up close. It was amazing to have the Bishop here because we know he helped us build this beautiful place. This is a day Immokalee won’t soon forget.”

This may be an understatement as the new nearly 15,000-square-foot church, which seats nearly 1,200 comfortable was overflowing out the doors and into the parking lot. Everyone wanted to be present for this historic moment in the life of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish.

Tents were set up in a field on the back of the Parish property, seating 3,500 for a post-dedication fiesta complete with food, performances by musicians and dancers as well as a huge cake. There were so many people that some were content to participate standing up. Cooking of the food began about 6 a.m. and the menu include barbeque chicken, pork, rice and beans as well as cake. While it rained off and on during the Mass and the fiesta, no one complained as the celebration lasted well into the evening.

The Rite of Dedication

Following the opening procession and entrance into the empty church, the faithful followed and the next part of the Rite began with the Bishop blessing the water in the Baptismal Font, and then he, along with Father Reyes, blessed the people with Holy Water further as a symbol of the spiritual temple of the Lord so as to recall their Baptismal promises. This was followed by the sprinkling of the walls of the Church, marking the Church as a holy place from that day forward — before finally blessing the altar and the sanctuary.

The Mass then proceeded with some minor adjustments, such as the Litany of Saints replacing the general intercessions. Following the Litany, the rites of anointing, incensing, covering and lighting the altar followed. During the anointing, Bishop Dewane spread Sacred Chrism Oil – blessed at the Chrism Mass during Holy Week – first on the altar and then in the sign of the cross at four points on the walls of the Church. This is done to mark, through sacred designation, the altar and Church. Next was the incensation, symbolic of the “prayers rising up to the Lord, not just for today, but for generations to come” of the altar and then of the nave of the Church.

Next was the lighting of the altar and the Church. Bishop presented Father Reyes with a lighted candle, who then proceed to light the candles on the newly anointed altar while the lights of the building were turned on. With the Rite concluded, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass continued.

At the end of the Mass, Scalabrinian Provincial Father Balen read a congratulatory letter from the Superior of the Order in Rome to the Parish which included his gratitude to the Bishop and faithful for their continued support to the religious order. Father Reyes also expressed his gratitude to Bishop Dewane for helping to make a reality the long-held dream for a new Church.

It was in January 2017 when Bishop Dewane and Father Reyes used an excavator to start the work of clearing space for the new Church. Unforeseen delays, plus Hurricane Irma made the project take much longer than anticipated.

Bishop Dewane thanked the faithful for their patience during the delays. “I know everyone would agree that it was worth the wait.” A large roar of approval and applause responded to this statement.

The new church doubles the size of the old building while utilizing masonry and metal in its design. Features include a drive-through porte-cochere and exterior fountain with a shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Following Mass, Bishop Dewane blessed the neighboring 5,000-square-foot Father Richard Sanders Pastoral Center which features eight meeting rooms. The existing Church will eventually be converted into a Parish Hall.

Contractors

Architect: Patrick M. Pillot Architect, Inc.;

Civil Engineer, Spectrum Engineering, Inc., engineer: R. J. (Buck) Ward;

Contractor:  Anderson & Ellis, Inc., owner:  Steve Anderson, project superintendent:  John Augeri;

Exterior Fountain:  Jackson Pools, Inc., owner: Tom Fritz;

Pew manufacturer:  Imperial Woodworks, Inc., contact: Michael Correa;

Interior designer:  KDL Interior Design, LLC, designer: Kristin Lyons;

Church bells: The Verdin Company.

Hispanic Emmaus group holds gathering

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

For about 1,000 people a recent Sunday was spent growing and better rooting their love for the Lord while also gaining a profound sense of devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.

These were some of the things learned during the 2nd Diocese of Venice Congress of Emmaus (Emaus) which took place May 19 at the Lee Civic Center in North Fort Myers. The event, which was in Spanish, was for those who have completed an Emmaus weekend retreat in the past and served as an opportunity to renew and recapture the fire that grew in them during their first retreat.

It was during that retreat during where they learned a new way to live their life, as Jesus taught in the Gospel of Luke with a particular emphasis on the story about the Road to Emmaus.

“Beautiful!” “Amazing!” “Powerful” “I felt Christ’s love!” These were just some of the reactions of people as they finished a 10-hour day. Between the speakers, the music and the community that everyone felt, the day was a huge success. Many commented on how uplifting and unifying the day was, bringing them closer to Jesus Christ is ways they did not expect.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated the closing Mass for the day and said he was very pleased to see such an enthusiastic group dedicating an entire day to growing closer to the Lord through the Blessed Sacrament.

The Bishop specifically credited the Diocesan Spiritual Directors for Hispanic Emmaus, Fathers Jiobani Batista, Luis Pacheco and Luis Albarracin, for their commitment in supporting the Emmaus retreats and for bringing everyone together for the gathering to celebrate the Lord in a special way.

Father Batista, Pastor of St. Margaret Parish in Clewiston, said the goal of the gathering was to inflame the participants with the miracle of Risen Lord as we continue our spiritual journey during this Easter Season.

“We also wanted to convey a renewed and deep devotion to the Eucharist,” Father Batista said. “After going on an Emmaus retreat, the powerful impact can fade over time. This gathering is a renewal so that everyone will carry this message and bring their excitement back to their parishes, spreading the message of the Lord to others.”

Each of the talks focused on the Eucharist. During the say, there was Eucharistic Adoration, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and music all building upon the theme. This led everyone toward the climatic conclusion of the day, the celebration of the Eucharist during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Speakers included Father Emilio Acevedo, Father Jose Asuncion Briones Barrientos, and Sister Maria Mercedez Rodriguez-Gomez, MHML, of St. Margaret Parish. Music was provided by the Custodia de Cristo and Son del Senor del Miami. The featured music was provided by Catholic singer-songwriter Jon Carlo.

The Emmaus retreat program is a Diocesan-approved retreat weekend that takes place three times a year in both English and Spanish. It’s open to all men and women ages 20 or older seeking to grow in their relationship with Christ regardless of their present level of faith and practice. The purpose of the weekend is to give adults the opportunity to reflect upon themselves, their relationship with God and their community.

The next full gathering of Emmaus retreatants will be April 25, 2020 at the Lee Civic Center. To learn more about Emmaus retreats across the Diocese, contact your local parish or email emaus@dioceseofvenice.org or emmaus@dioceseofvenice.org.

Parish welcomes visiting religious priests

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

A driving rain storm did little to quell the enthusiasm of the faithful at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Immokalee when they welcomed more than 40 Missionaries of St. Charles (Scalabrinians) who were visiting the parish for the Mass as part of a week-long Provincial Assembly in Boca Raton.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane was the main celebrant for a May 9 Mass. Father Mario Germia, CS, General Councilor of the Order, and Provincial Superior Father Maocir Balen, CS, Parish Pastor Father Carlos Reyes-Ramirez, CS, and Parochial Vicar Father Wilner Durosier, CS, as well as the other Scalabrinian priests concelebrated the Mass.

The assembly side-trip to Immokalee for the priests was planned to thank the community for their support of the religious order through the years and to see the progress on the construction of the new Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Church which is nearing completion adjacent to the existing church.

The first Scalabrinian priests arrived at Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1985 and the community has served there ever since. Several priests who previously served at the parish were present for the celebration and were, following the Mass, individually recognized and cheered by the faithful for their service.

Bishop Dewane expressed his humble and heartfelt gratitude for the years the Missionaries of St. Charles have been in the Diocese, serving the faithful here and continuing to reach out to other missions that were founded.

“I cannot help but express a strong genuine gratefulness and thanks for your vocation, for your choosing to be a member of the Missionaries of St. Charles, and for the sacrifices that you make,” the Bishop added. “Also, for the good that you do for the people of God, and particularly here in Immokalee by building up the faith community.”

The welcome from the parishioners was overwhelming as they packed the church for the tri-lingual Mass (English, Spanish and Creole) and afterwards joyously cheered the visiting priests for their vocation and continued service to the community.

Provincial Father Balen thanked Bishop Dewane for his ongoing support of the Scalabrinian priests who continue to serve in Immokalee. He also thanked the faithful of the parish for their enthusiasm for the visit, noting that the group was expecting a quiet time for Mass and some reflection but instead they were welcomed with joyous open arms that reflect the love of Christ that permeates throughout the parish.

“Thank you to Bishop Dewane and thank you all for the love you have showed us,” Father Balen said in English and Spanish.

The Missionaries of St. Charles – Scalabrinians – are an international community of religious missionaries dedicated to the service of migrants of differing cultures and ethnicities in countries throughout the world. We are a religious apostolic community called by God to share in the mission of the church by helping migrants discover and carry out the plan of salvation during human migration and within their lives.  The Congregation was founded on Nov. 28, 1887 by Blessed John Baptist Scalabrini (1839-1905), Bishop of Piacenza, Italy.

Scalabrinians are committed to the promotion of human dignity and human rights of migrants, including their faith and cultural values.  They are also committed to promote the total salvation of mankind, leading migrants in particular, to a rediscovery of faith in their lives with a longing for dignity and justice.

The Scalabrinian Fathers of the Province of St. Charles Borromeo Provincial Assembly gathered priests who serve in the eastern U.S., eastern Canada, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela.

Following the Mass, a fiesta was held and in spite of the rain, everyone persevered and enjoyed themselves as the food was served under the awning of the new church and all sat at tables under tents set up in the parking lot.

Bishop Dewane noted during the Mass that the new building, which has been under construction for more than two years, will soon be opened and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will be offered. “Your patience has been appreciated and you will be rewarded with another celebration very soon.”

News briefs from Around the Diocese March 15 2019

Bishop serves as Grand Marshal to Marco St. Patrick’s Parade

Bishop Frank J. Dewane served as the Grand Marshal for the 2019 Marco Island St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 3. The parade included a variety of floats and various musical performers including the St. John Neuman Catholic High School Band from Naples.

Parish celebrates 20 years

Our Lady of the Angels Parish Lakewood Ranch celebrated their 20th anniversary with a Mass and party on Feb. 24. Bishop Frank J. Dewane was the principal celebrant for the Mass with current, past and neighboring priests concelebrating. It was noted that the faith community, which has been in a new parish church for about a year, has grown thanks to the efforts of the priests and of the strong support of the people who make Our Lady of the Angels what it is today.

Order of Malta retreat brings in Archbishop

Archbishop Jerome Listecki, of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, was the retreat master for an Order of Malta retreat in Naples from March 1-3. Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated a Mass for the knights and dames of the order on March 1 at St. Ann Parish and was joined by Archbishop Listecki.

St. Andrew student saves father, receives “Do The Right Thing Award”

Kendall Sullivan, a seventh grader at St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral, was recently honored at the Cape Coral “Do The Right Thing” Awards. She was recognized for her fast thinking and calm demeanor in a very stressful situation when her father had a medical emergency while driving here and a her younger sister to school. After a minor traffic accident, the quick-thinking student was able to remove the keys from the ignition and turn off the car. She then explain to bystanders and emergency medical personnel about her father’s medical history which was credited with helping him make a full recovery. She was presented the ‘Do the Right Thing Award” for being able to prevent injury to her family and others on the road all while putting her fear aside.

Two Diocesan teams going to state Odyssey of the Mind competition

The St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton and St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral both qualified teams for the state Odyssey of the Mind competition at the University of Central Florida in April! The teams did well in regional qualifiers on March 2 competing against more than 100 schools from across the area. Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem-solving program where teams work together to solve complex problems.

Parish holds annual Gala

St. Jude Parish in Sarasota held their annual Gala Feb. 15 at Michael’s on East. The theme of the evening was “One World, One Family,” and in addition to fine dining, there was dancing, photo booth, raffles and live auction, including for Father Celestin Gutierrez’s famous paella dinner.

Epiphany Cathedral students participate in Kids Heart Challenge

Students at Epiphany Cathedral School know that February celebrates St. Valentine and is American Heart Month by participating in the Kids Heart Challenge which educates them on how their heart works, ways to stay healthy and how to make a difference in the lives of others. American Heart Association Youth Marketing Director, Emily Helter visited the Venice to the school on Valentine’s Day to speak with the 2nd & 3rd grade class about the fundraiser and ways to stay heart healthy.  This year the student’s goal is to raise $5,000 with the school raising $8,000 in the past two years. The Kid’s Heart Challenge fundraiser culminated with a school-wide event with jumping rope, hula hooping, dance and many fun activities designed to illustrate that being active is both fun and life-saving.

Guadalupe Social Services holds open house

Staff Report – Florida Catholic

12/19/2018

As part of the year-long celebration of Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. providing services in Collier County for 50 years, Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities in Immokalee held a Dec. 8 open house for supporters of the program.

Attendees enjoyed food, drink and fellowship along with a video presentation and informative tours of the services available at Guadalupe Social Services, which has been in operation for 38 years. During 2018, Catholic Charities has been proud to mark 50 years of changing lives in Collier County. Hospitality for the open house was graciously provided by The Warehouse and the Seminole Hotel Casino Immokalee.

With the aid of many supporters offering time, talent and treasure, Guadalupe Social Services is able to provide assistance to people in need in Immokalee.

Visitors are greeted Dec. 8 to the Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities Open House in Immokalee.

Immokalee has long been a region of poor migrant workers. Half of the population lives at or below the poverty level. Over the years, more families have chosen to make Immokalee their permanent home and work in low-income jobs including: landscaping; hospitality; restaurants; farms; and packing houses. There is an extreme culture of poverty that exists in the town of Immokalee as 44.8 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.

Guadalupe Social Services aims to alleviate the suffering in Immokalee with compassion, integrity, and empathy. By empowering the people through assistance provided to them, the main goals are to ensure human dignity and enhance the quality of life for all individuals served. Guadalupe Social Services focuses on offering the basic needs of food, shelter, clothing and household items, in addition to stability and education.

The staff of Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities during a Dec. 8 Open House in Immokalee.

The program offers a number of vital services including: free hot lunches five days a week at the Casa Maria Soup Kitchen; a clothing room and showers; a food pantry; direct assistance with rent and utilities; immigration services; English as a second language classes; and a crib and stroller program.

Volunteers are the backbone of Guadalupe Social Services and allow the program the ability to provide these vital services to the needy in the community. Additional volunteers are needed for the food pantry, soup kitchen, and help in the office.

If you would like to directly support the program nonperishable food, clothing and household goods are always needed at Guadalupe Social Services. Seasonal donations are necessary for back-to-school items, and Thanksgiving and Christmas food distributions.

For more information about volunteer opportunities and donations, please call 239-657-6242, visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org or send donations to Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities, 211 S. 9th St., Immokalee, FL 34142.

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